Colorado deputy dies; 3rd law enforcement death in 5 weeks

An El Paso County Sheriff's deputy works the scene of a shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo., Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Police in Colorado Springs say they are responding to a "critical incident" in a neighborhood of single-family homes, apartment buildings and retail stores in east Colorado Springs. (Nadav Soroker/The Gazette via AP)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Authorities were investigating what happened before El Paso County Deputy Micah Flick was shot and became the third law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in Colorado since New Year’s Eve.

Authorities said Flick, other deputies and officers with the Colorado Springs Police Department were investigating a stolen car on Monday afternoon.

“They encountered an adult male suspect, a struggle ensued and shots were fired,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey said at a press conference at the hospital where Flick and the injured were taken. The lone suspect was killed, authorities said.

In this undated photo provided on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Micah Flick is shown. Flick was shot and killed on Monday, while investigating a stolen vehicle in Colorado Springs, Colo. He became the third officer to be gunned down in the line of duty in the state in the past five weeks. (El Paso County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder choked up as he told reporters that Flick, 34, was married and had two children. Flick celebrated his 11th anniversary with the sheriff’s office Monday.

“Deputy Flick was an outstanding member of my agency and he will be missed,” Elder said.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered flags flown at half-staff in Flick’s honor.

“We want each officer, every deputy, to know we are grateful for their service,” the governor said.

On Dec. 31, Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish died after he was shot in suburban Denver by a man with a history of mental health issues. On Jan. 24, Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm died after he was shot chasing a suspect.

Hickenlooper said in a written statement that the deadly violence against officers is having a chilling impact and the state “must come together and say enough is enough.”

The fatal shooting occurred in a neighborhood of single-family homes, apartments and retail stores just east of downtown Colorado Springs, a city of about 465,000.

Two other deputies, a Colorado Springs police officer and a bystander were also shot and wounded, authorities said. All were hospitalized, but the extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately released.

It wasn’t clear who fired or how many shots were fired. Carey and Elder didn’t take questions after delivering brief statements on Monday.

Jason Adams, 52, who lives nearby, told the Colorado Springs Gazette he heard gunshots and ran to the scene, which he described as a “war zone.”

He said he saw emergency responders tending to three people lying on the ground, one of whom appeared to have bullet wounds in the side of his torso.

The names of the injured officers, the bystander and the suspect were not immediately released.

Police remained in the area hours after the shooting, while other officers and bystanders lined the streets to watch as a procession drove Flick’s body from a local hospital to the county coroner’s office.

Carey said Monday marked another tough day for all law-enforcement agencies.

“Tonight there is no distinction between our uniforms. State Patrol, sheriff’s office and the Colorado Springs Police Department, our hearts are all broken,” he said.